Friday, June 30, 2017

Christmas in July starts tomorrow on my Christmas blog!

Do you celebrate Christmas in July?  Or might you just be looking for some fresh inspiration for Christmas 2017?  If so, you might be interested in Christmas in July over at Mrs. T's Christmas Kitchen.

Starting tomorrow, I am going to be (Lord willing) posting every day in July over at my Christmas blog.  There will be poems, recipes, kitchen gifts, craft projects -- all sorts of ideas and inspiration for your Christmas planning.  I hope to see you over there!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

From the June archives

I'm finding it really enjoyable to try and do a post from the archives of each month.  So here, at the end of June,  is a potpourri of links from some previous Junes.  Enjoy!

From 2006, a post about My Quote Journal.  If you don't have one of these, you might consider starting one.  Mine has been hugely helpful to me, and I've even made some for gifts.

In 2007 I posted my daughter Carrie’s Iced Tea recipe.  It's so refreshing!  Easy, too.

Now It Can Be Told tells the heartwarming story of a precious gift I was given ... twice!
The 2008 post Our Shepherd’s Provision shares some lessons I was learning from a study of Psalm 23.

Light shining in a dark place relates an incident that happened one summer night in our home.
This photo, as well as the calendar one at the top of the post, are from Photos Public Domain
In 2012 I shared the recipe for Layered Fruit Salad in a Jar -- perfect for summer potlucks or family reunions, and so pretty!

Lastly (there are many other June posts, of course, but I'm restraining myself here), here is a post about a wonderful gift for young children -- a Child’s Needlework Basket which has been a hit with my grandchildren.  Got summer birthdays coming up?  Check this out.

Archive posts are fun for me!  Hope my readers are enjoying them too.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Coincidence? I think not.

An interesting thing happened on Monday.  Sunday evening, I had been doing a bit of dusting and decluttering and came upon a couple of business cards from our trip to Bangor.  I picked them up and tucked them into a little square basket atop the computer desk where I keep business cards and other like items.

Monday morning I turned on the computer and noticed a white card lying on the desk.

It had obviously fallen out of the basket when I tucked the business cards in.   I turned the card over.

Here's the front side:
Wow.  Just wow.  Life has been pretty stressful lately.  There are all sorts of reasons not to rest or be still; all sorts of concerns to consider.  Sometimes things take a sickening turn, other times they seem to be moving painfully slowly.  A lot of it is out of my hands.  Obviously, this little "Pass It On" card was intended directly for me.

I decided to spend a little time meditating on Psalm 37:7.  I began by utilizing my favorite SOAP method.  Here's the entire verse as it appears in my Bible:

S= "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass."

O= "Trust in the Lord" is really the theme of all 40 verses of Psalm 37.  There is so much here, but I obviously can't SOAP the entire psalm.  Basically, throughout it, David instructs his listeners to rest and trust in the LORD, and not to fret because of what the wicked are doing.  They will receive their just reward, for God sees their wicked hearts as well as their evil doing.  But those who trust God will never be forsaken by Him.

The phrase "rest in the LORD" literally means "Be silent to the LORD,"  A cross-reference is Psalm 62:1 -- "Truly my soul waiteth upon God; from Him cometh my salvation."

The phrase "fret not thyself" is also seen in verse 1 -- "fret not thyself because of evildoers" -- and in verse 8 -- "fret not thyself in any way to do evil".   So we are not to fret because of these wicked who seem to be prospering.  Jeremiah 12:1 is given for comparison:  "Righteous art Thou, O LORD, when I plead with Thee; yet let me talk with Thee of Thy judgments.  Why doth the way of the wicked prosper?  Why are they all happy that deal very treacherously?"  (Jeremiah was questioning this, but we do see the answer to his questions in Psalm 37, as well as other places in Scripture.  The wicked may seem to prosper, they may seem to get away with things, but in the end they will not.)

For the phrase "prospereth in his way", a cross-reference of Psalm 73:3-12 is given.  Psalm 73 discusses at length the prosperity of the wicked.  But in verses 17-19 of Psalm 73, the psalmist sees their end.  He says, "Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places; Thou castedst them down into destruction.  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!  they are utterly consumed with terrors."  He concludes the psalm in verses 23-28 by reaffirming his own trust in God.  He ends in verse 28 by stating: "It is good for me to draw near to God:  I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works."

A= So I need to:
      * rest in the Lord
      * wait patiently for Him to act
       And I am not to:
      * fret because of the evil person who prospers in his way
      * fret because of the one who brings wicked devices to pass.

In fact, if I read on to the next verse (8), I am not to fret in any way!

P= "Lord, I thank You for the truths of Your Word!  I pray that You will help me to rest quietly in You, waiting patiently for You to resolve the issues that concern me.  Help me to remember that I need not fret about anything, for You see all things, even the way of the wicked, and will deal with them in Your way and time.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃      🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃     🍃    

I found a wonderful thought about Psalm 37:7 in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.  This is a quote from James D. Burns, who wrote:

"Take the case of one who, with a load above his strength, has been toiling some steep and broken path, when suddenly he finds [the load] transferred to another whose strength he knows to be more than equal to the task, and in whose sympathy he can securely trust.  What would his feeling be but one of perfect rest, and calm reliance, and joyous freedom, as they went on their way together?  And such is the blessedness of rolling our care upon the Lord -- in weakness we are resting on superior strength, in perplexity and doubt we are resting on superior wisdom, in all times of trial and hard service we can stay ourselves on the assurance of His perfect sympathy.

"The literal meaning of the word 'rest' is 'be silent' towards the Lord.  With the eye fixed on Him let all unbelieving thoughts be stilled, such thoughts as rise and rankle in the querulous spirit when it sees only its troubles and not God in them, when the mists of earth hide from its sight the eternal stars of heaven.

"In regard to all ... dark and unbelieving suggestions, the heart is to keep silence, to be still and know that He is God; silent as to murmuring, but not silent as to prayer, for in that holy meditative stillness the heart turns to commune with Him.

"What is 'resting in God', but the instinctive movement and upward glance of the spirit to Him; the confiding of all one's griefs and fears to Him, and feeling strengthened, patient, hopeful in the act of doing so!  It implies a willingness that He should choose for us, a conviction that the ordering of all that concerns us is safer in His hands than in our own."

I needed that last paragraph today!

This antique card belonged to my Great-Aunt Sadie.
I did one more thing as part of my study this morning.  I was so struck by the contrast between the wicked and the righteous as presented in Psalm 37 that I took a piece of paper and made 2 columns.  I went through the psalm and listed what applied to the righteous in one column and what would happen to the wicked in the second column.  Simple, but I found it instructive and encouraging.  I hope that perhaps these few thoughts have been a blessing to someone else today.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Another evening, another lake

If you've been reading here for a long time, you'll remember that ten years ago or so, Mr. T and I used to have a picnic by the river on summer and fall Wednesday evenings on our way to church.  Those picnics were a brief but relaxing respite from a demanding season of eldercare.  Then the seasonal rest area where we always picnicked was closed, so those came to an end.

Mr. T changed jobs not long afterward,  and he doesn't always get home at a set hour, so we couldn't simply continue the supper picnics at a different location.  We would still occasionally pack a picnic and take it to a local park where there are picnic tables overlooking the pond.

Right now, we are again in a demanding season of life and so we're trying to picnic as often as possible.  There is just something so calming about being by the water.  It doesn't really matter if it's a lake, a pond, a rushing river, or a babbling brook.  If the sunlight is sparkling on the water, even better. We've decided to make it our mission this summer to find good waterside picnic places.

In the last post I shared photos of our Tuesday evening picnic destination at a popular nearby lake.  Well, today's post shares more pictures of a different, much smaller lake, from Saturday evening. The picnic was sort of a last-minute idea, so we picked up sandwiches and chips from the Walmart deli and just took along some water.  This particular lake is about 20 minutes from our home and has a public boat launch area.  We went there and just took along our camping chairs.
Again, the pictures were taken with the Kindle, by me, so they are not the best.  But you get the idea.  Another sparkling blue lake.  A bit of food and some good company.  Instant relaxation.  Thank You, Lord!

Edited to add: It just occurred to me that some of my readers might enjoy checking out recipes I have used for picnic fare over the years.  If you do a search on my blog for "picnic by the river", you will find loads of links and recipes I used over the time we regularly picnicked by the river.  You could also access them by clicking on the "picnics" label in the label cloud at right.  We took sandwiches, yes -- some of the time -- but our picnic fare was pretty creative and delicious too, if I do say so.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lessons from Joshua 1:9

 Lately it seems as if many of us are facing all sorts of unknowns.  If I take just a few minutes and think about the ladies in my Sunday School class, and also my blogging friends, I could come up with a staggering list of unknowns that different ones are facing.

From cancer and other health issues, to retirement, to grief and loss, to facing a nursing home or assisted living, to the possible sale of a home, to issues with children, to estate responsibilities, to legal issues -- the list could go on and on.  One young woman in my class is working as a camp counselor this summer.  Talk about physically exhausting and emotionally draining work!  Plus, each week of camp brings a new set of campers with their own unique challenges -- a fresh set of unknowns every week!

It's been fascinating to me to see how God has brought particular verses to mind as I have dealt with my own impending unknowns.  One thing that happened was that as I was working on the review lesson for the Sunday School study we're finishing up, I realized I had never actually taken time to meditate on the six verses that formed the backbone of our two years of study in the book Following God with All Your Heart, by Elizabeth George.  I had read the verses countless times, memorized each one, and thought about them repeatedly.  But I had not taken time to work through meditating on them using the the SOAP method which I so greatly enjoy.  And I realized that every one of these verses -- Joshua 1:8, Joshua 1:9, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 5:5-6, Psalm 84:11, and Philippians 4:13 -- would be useful ones to meditate on as I finished my review.  SOAPing them would help solidify these six life-changing verses in my thinking.
So I began.  And almost immediately an unexpected event also happened -- the death of my dad.  Unknowns abounded.  (They are, however, not unexpected and not unknown to God.)  Today I am just going to zero in on my study of Joshua 1:9, which I did on June 9.  It is simple, but such a blessing.

S=  "Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

O= After Moses' death, God spoke to Joshua, who would be the new leader of the children of Israel.  How amazing it must have been to be encouraged by God Himself!  He assured Joshua that every inch of the promised land was theirs (v. 2-4); that He would be with him and not fail or forsake him; that no man would be able to stand before them (v. 5).  He encouraged and commanded Joshua to keep His Word in the forefront of his thinking, to meditate on it and obey it (v. 7-8).

Here in v. 9, God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous: "Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage."  This is the third time God has told him this: verses 6 and 7 record the same command.  He expands on it here:

* Be not afraid
* Be not dismayed

And then He tells him why: "for the LORD thy God is with thee wherever thou goest."  What possible need could there be for fear?

A= This is the perfect day for me to be meditating upon this verse.  Things are changing in my life.  There are many things I could be fearful about, from family concerns to legal matters.  Literally, because my dad has died, things will never be the same as they were before.  And yet ...

* I can be strong
* I can be courageous
* I need not be afraid
* I need not be dismayed


* The Lord my God is with me wherever I go and whatever I face.

P=  Lord, how I thank and praise You for Your Word!  I thank You today in particular for this powerful verse.  What a great reminder!  Because You, the all-powerful, all-knowing God, are with me, I can be strong and very courageous.  There is no need for fear or dismay.  I pray that you will help me to keep this verse firmly in my mind as I face the unknown, and thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen.

I hope these simple thoughts have been a blessing to someone today!
The photos are from Tuesday evening, and were taken at a nearby lake.  After a stressful day, Mr. T and I packed up a simple picnic and headed for the lake to eat supper.  What a refreshing break it was to be out in God's creation, soaking in its beauty and serenity!  These photos were snapped with the Kindle and taken right from our picnic table.  The folks in the photo above are NOT us, but another couple with the same idea.  I didn't intend to get them in the picture, but I sort of liked how it came out.  Seems to fit with my thought of keeping our focus on the Creator as we move ahead into the unknowns of life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Start of summer hodgepodge

 It's Wednesday again and time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends over at From This Side of the Pond.  Why not go check out Joyce's list of questions and answer them on your own blog, then link up?  Here are the questions and my answers, interspersed with pictures from summers past.
1. The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you'd put on your list of  quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?

1) A picnic at Wellington Beach
2)  A visit to Story Land with grandkids
3) Ice cream at Frosty Scoops
4) A lobster bake
5) A visit to the science center with grandkids
6) Tram car to the top of Cannon Mountain, then hiking the rim trail
7) Enjoying fried seafood or other takeout at a picnic table at Riverside Dairy Joy
8) The Fourth of July get-together at the home of friends
9) Sitting on the screened porch of a cottage by a pond or lake
10) Playing miniature golf with grandkids

I would like to think we could manage all ten this summer, but I would settle for seven or eight, I guess!

2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? 

I am more likely to collect sea glass.

What do you do with them once you get them home? 

Sand dollars and sea glass would be displayed or used in craft projects.

What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? 

The beach at Cabot Provincial Park in PEI for sea glass; the same beach, plus Popham Beach in Maine, for sand dollars.

How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas

I haven't visited any of those places.  I would probably like to visit Okracoke Island in NC if I had to choose one of them.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

Tasked with settling an estate and having to deal with legalities and paperwork, I would very happily go back into my shell.  And wish I could do so right. now.
4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

 Trying to think ... Summer tends to be pretty short here, so there probably isn't anything I truly dislike.  There are things I don't personally enjoy, but nothing I can think of that I absolutely dislike.

5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?

Maybe handwritten notes or letters.  I hope that doesn't happen, but it could.  And that does bother me because handwritten letters can be real treasures.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Having trouble thinking right now ... any coherent thought at all. Everything just feels like too much.  However, God is in control and this is on my plate so -- in His strength alone -- I will manage to deal with it.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Loon Nest Live Cam

The Loon Preservation Committee (which produced the info sheet above) has a web cam live in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire right now.  The camera is watching over a loon pair that is incubating two eggs.  [Edited to add: the first chick has hatched.  So cute!]

Go here to access it: Loon Web Cam.  Or you can also watch on YouTube.

It's fascinating to watch, so enjoy!  I have it on full screen on my computer right now.  It's like being there!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day Hodgepodge

Beautiful photo by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Wednesday, and time for the almost-weekly Hodgepodge with Joyce and the gang at From This Side of the Pond.   Joyce asks the questions; bloggers copy, paste, and answer on their own blogs, then link up!  If you've never joined in the Hodgepodge, why not give it a  try this week?  Here we go with the questions:

1. The Hodgepodge lands on June 14th this week, Flag Day in the US of A. Do you fly your country's flag at home? Sometimes, often, or every single day? 

We don't have an American flag flying here at our home, although we do at my Dad's.  Every single day.  And we do, as of Saturday, have a perfectly folded American flag on a shelf in our living room.  My nephew is going to have a case made for it.

Have you ever visited the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia)? Did you make a point of seeing The Betsy Ross House? Have you ever made a trip to Baltimore? If so, was Fort McHenry on your itinerary? (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner)

 I have not visited either Philadelphia or Baltimore.

2. Red flag or white flag? Which have you encountered most recently? Explain.

Good question.  And I can't think of a really good answer.
Photo by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
3. Are you a stay in the car listen to the end of a song kind of person? What kind of person is that?

 Sometimes I am the sort of person who stays in the car to 1) listen to the end of the song; 2) hear the end of the news story; or 3) listen to see how the at-bat or the current inning comes out.  NPR calls those "driveway moments", so I guess you could say I'm (at times, not always) a driveway moment kind of person.  Or a rest-of-the-story type person.

4. What are some of the traits or qualities you think a good dad possesses? In other words, what makes a good dad? 
 Patience; empathy; kindness; thoughtfulness; courage; integrity; a good work ethic and a sense of humor.  Just to name a few. 

What's an expression you associate with your father?

"It's a poor day when you don't learn something."

5. What's one rule you always disagreed with while growing up? Is that rule somehow still part of your adult life? Is that a good or bad thing?

My parents had a rule that there would be no singing at the table (at mealtimes).  I'm still not completely sure why they had it, other than that singing slowed down one's eating, could be considered rude or distracting to others,  and -- in our house anyway -- teasing was sometimes accompanied by a song or jingle aimed at the one being teased.

I haven't kept that rule in my own household and very occasionally I will notice one of us or a grandchild singing at the table.  And I have no problem with it.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Very thankful for my own wonderful Dad who is no longer with us, as of May 26. We will miss him but he is far better off, reunited with his loved ones who have gone on before.  As I looked back over many photos to make a display for folks to enjoy at the gathering after his service, I was reminded again and again of  what a good dad he had been.
The tenderness expressed in this picture ... there are just no words.
They are getting ready to pour concrete to install a flagpole!
Setting the base for the flagpole ... this is how I always remember my dad, with a pencil tucked behind his ear.
And so ends another Hodgepodge. Happy Flag Day!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Our Bangor adventure, Part 3

 Saturday morning we planned to head home from Bangor, but we ended up visiting a museum instead.  We had had plans to meet up with my blog friend Vee for lunch or pie and coffee, depending on timing, on Saturday en route back to New Hampshire.  However, those plans changed with the unexpected passing of her father, which we learned about while on the road to Maine.  (And I would never have guessed, that day, that just a couple of weeks later, I would be facing the unexpected passing of my father. It certainly helps us to know how to pray for one another.)  I believe, too, that God was already preparing my heart by reminding me that only He knows the day and hour one will pass from this life, and that my dad could go as quickly and unexpectedly as Vee's did.  Neither were in top-notch health.

All that to say that with our plans for Saturday changed, we intended to head home, still having lunch at the place we had planned to meet Vee.  It was interesting how this museum visit came about.  Remember how I said that Comfort Inn had a shuttle that took us to the Loggers' Expo?  Well, as we were traveling across town, we happened to look down off the highway and see the helicopter pictured above.  Of course we were curious.  Wouldn't you be?

We could also glimpse a large building with the title Cole Land Transportation Museum, so we asked the shuttle driver about it.  He told us quite a bit about it (for example, the museum was built around a train and tracks which were put into place, then the building was built around the train).  He added that if we had the time, the cost was minimal and the museum definitely worth a visit.  Well, we had a bit of extra time now, although certainly we were sad about the reason for it.  So we planned a stop at the museum for as soon as they opened on Saturday.

It turned out to be an absolutely amazing place, with loads of local history but also many, many vehicles of all types from many eras.  Everything from Sno-Cats to hearses to tractor-trailer trucks, fire trucks, farm tractors, convertibles, the aforementioned train and even an entire train station, reassembled inside the museum.  We spent well over two hours there and just did not do it justice.  We could easily have spent an entire day!  I will just show you a few of the things we saw.
The caboose for the train!  The freight car is set up like a little theater where one can go in and watch videos concerning the museum.  You can actually go in the caboose and look around.  It's quite amazing.
Inside the train station.  Sorry for the glare.  We were taking these with the Kindle.
The gum dispenser was original to the station, I believe.
Look at all those saws!
The truck above was a special one called a tank-van.  It featured a box trailer pulled behind the short tanker.  Thus a load of fuel could be delivered to Aroostook County and a load of potatoes could be hauled back in the trailer on the return trip.  Pretty ingenious!
Army vehicle
A nifty old car!
Army vehicle
Steam shovel
This car was especially to use for photo ops.  Don't know if you can read the license plate (I think you'll be able to if you double click on the photo), but at the left it says "Horseless Carriage"!
Outdoors there are some war memorials.  The helicopter we saw from the highway was a part of the Vietnam War Memorial.  This is the rest of it -- a wounded soldier being helped to the waiting helicopter.  The woman depicted at right is an Army nurse.
 I am not sure which War Memorial the tank belongs to ... it may be the Korean War.  This museum also has a strong emphasis on veterans' programs, and actually pairs veterans with school children to help them gain the wisdom and insight these older people have to share.

A fascinating, fascinating place.  We will definitely return, hopefully with some of our grandkids who would really enjoy seeing all that this museum has to offer.

On the way home, we did enjoy a delightful late lunch at Cole Farms in Gray.   (The photo below shows our  grandson Darrin enjoying a meal at Cole Farms in 2012.  I think he may have been enjoying the ketchup more than the fries.)
On this trip, we both had delicious chicken salads with cranberries and walnuts.  It made a nice, refreshing stop in the midst of our trip home.  We did miss Vee, but we're going to try that again!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Bangor adventure, part 2

Finally I'm finding a minute to blog a bit more concerning our Bangor adventure last month.  Our Friday evening involved time spent outside of the city ... in fact, very much in the country.

When we began making plans for our trip to Bangor, we decided to see if we could spend a few minutes with my cousin Chuck, with whom we reconnected at a family reunion last July.  (Chuck's grandmother and my grandfather were brother and sister ... Mabel and Joe.)  Chuck and his wife live only a few minutes from Bangor, and he works at Treworgy Orchards.  Back last July he gave us his card and said to look him up if we were ever in the Bangor area.  So, a week or so before our trip we emailed Chuck to see if a brief visit, maybe on our way home, would be a possibility.  Saturday would not work for him and Michaele, so we arranged to meet at the farm late Friday afternoon, and then to have supper with them at their home.

After leaving the Logger's Expo on Friday, we had an hour or so to relax at the hotel before leaving to meet Chuck at the farm in Levant.  It's unusual for us to spend more two consecutive nights in a hotel, but this time we did, so I had some time to relax in a quiet area of the lobby with an embroidery project.  I was surprised to note, on a nearby table, some brochures for Treworgy Orchards!  Sort of neat, since we were headed there shortly.

We arrived at the farm and were given a tour by Chuck, who took us around the property in a golf cart, accompanied by two of his young grandsons who were visiting from Deer Isle. 
This area is going to be this year's corn maze.  Chuck had just completed plowing it.
The pictures were taken with the Kindle, so not great.  But the clouds were quite interesting, I thought.
Chuck's shoulder and just a few of the apple trees in blossom.
We then drove to another part of the farm and saw property that is being developed into strawberry fields and other uses.  This pond was recently created as well.  One can see how beautiful this area is going to be!
After our tour, we went back to Chuck's home where Michaele had a lovely, healthy supper waiting -- a huge taco salad, fiddleheads, and homemade blueberry ice cream.  We had a wonderful visit with them and then headed back to our hotel.  There was a glorious sunset behind us as we traveled back to Bangor.  I caught a tiny glimpse of it in the rear view mirror, but the photo certainly does not do it justice.
Soon, maybe tomorrow, I will post about our Saturday morning in Bangor, which turned out to be very interesting -- one of those unplanned excursions which ends up being a delightful surprise!